The Gleaner
Agriculture

Money Making Ayrshires clean up at the Royal Winter Fair

The annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair took place in Toronto in November, and Howick’s Money Making Ayrshires, run by Mélissa Sylvestre and her husband Andrew Scoble, had a very successful year.

The farm placed high in many categories and had overall winners in three, including Breeder’s Herd (three animals, minimum two owned); Premier Exhibitor; and Premier Breeder. Several members of the Roy family, neighbours from the Valley, also travelled to the fair to help care for and prepare the three heifers and three cows. Geordie Woods showed one of their cows (Miguel) in the 4-H TD Classic and was awarded Grand Champion Ayrshire. Sylvestre says, “I felt so happy I couldn’t believe it! I was surprised. My goal was just to have a nice show at the Royal!”

It was Sylvestre’s first time attending this event. Going to the Royal had long been a dream for her, but she says it was both exciting and nerve wracking. “It was nice to see my cows there. I was very stressed about it though. I was scared the cows would get hurt or we would have bad luck somewhere,” she says. About Toronto, she adds, “It’s beautiful and big, but the city is way too much for me.”

 

Howicks Money Making Ayrshires was named Premier Exhibitor and Premier Breeder at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto PHOTO Ella Wright Photography

 

Despite the worries, Sylvestre explains she loves to connect with others about cows at competitions. But on a greater scale, events like this are important for Canadian agriculture. “I think the Royal is very important for showing our Ayrshires to other farmers and city people … We have a lot of good farms in the area; we need to be proud.”

This year’s success has been a long time coming for the farming couple, who started out renting a barn on Route 203 in Howick in 2012. They stayed in this spot for almost six years until they bought their current farm on Fertile Creek in Howick. They currently care for around 105 head of cattle, as well as their four children: Anna, James, Elliot, and Graham. The upkeep of the farm is done as a team. Sylvestre explains, “Andrew feeds the cows in the morning; I take care of the rest!”

She says that while the competition season may be done for now, they are looking forward to Victoriaville and Expo Ormstown next season, and they hope to attend the Royal again as well.

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